On Monday 19 July 2021, England will move to Step 4 of its roadmap in easing COVID-19 restrictions.
This means that almost all legal restrictions of social contact will be removed. However, the Government is encouraging people to act with caution. Our guidance has therefore been updated to reflect this.
This updated guidance which covers Steps 3-6 of the National League System (NLS), Tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid and grassroots football (including Regional NLS Feeder Leagues), comes into effect on Monday 19 July and until then all participants should follow our guidance for Step 3. You can read the Government guidance here.
The full guidance documents can be downloaded below and should be referred to for further details. The summary key points are:
1. On field adaptions for playing football are no longer required.
2. No limits of how many people can meet.
3. One metre plus rule removed.
4. The definition of close contact remains the same, however the rules on self-isolation will be changing from 16 August.
5. Face coverings no longer required by law, but recommended in crowded indoor settings and may be mandated by some clubs or facility providers.
6. Changing rooms can be used, however participants should use their own judgement and minimise use where possible to avoid close contact in a crowded area for a prolonged time.
7. No capacity limits for spectators but good practice is encouraged.
8. Hospitality is permitted without restrictions.
9. NHS Test and Trace QR codes not required by law but encouraged.
10. Free NHS lateral flow testing is available to clubs and we encourage clubs to take this up.
11. No domestic travel restrictions. Participants should continue to follow Government advice on international travel for any fixtures/ tournaments.
This guidance document applies to all youth and adult football and Futsal, including all formats of the game, both indoors and outdoors.
We would like to thank you once again for playing your part in helping to get our game going again. By observing Government guidance and the football-specific protocols, we can look forward to ensuring the transition back to enjoying football is as smooth and safe as possible.
On Monday 17 May, as part of the next step of the Government’s roadmap out of national lockdown, there will be further changes to the restrictions on ‘non-elite’ football. Our guidance has therefore been updated to reflect this. The key changes to note are in relation to spectators, indoor hospitality and indoor football and futsal.
THE KEY CHANGES TO BE AWARE OF ARE:
From Step 3, spectators will be permitted to view events on both public and private land but need to adhere to social distancing rules and social gathering limits set at groups of 30 outdoors and six people/two households indoors. Please note that multiple numbers of these group sizes are permitted as long as social distancing rules are followed.
Spectators are allowed indoors, but the total number of all participants, coaches, officials and spectators must comply with the ventilation rates permitted by the particular venue. You can find more information about this here.
At larger events, capacity limits for spectators, set by The Government will apply. For indoor events this is 1,000 or 50% of capacity and for outdoor events this is 4,000 or 50% of capacity (whichever is lower in both cases).
As part of Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, both outdoor and indoor hospitality at ‘non-elite’ football is permitted. All participants must follow Government guidance on hospitality settings and specific advice for sport facility operators available on the Government’s website. People using clubhouses and hospitality facilities must adhere to legal gathering limits and wider government guidance.
Indoor Football and Futsal
From Step 3, indoor gatherings of either six people (the ‘rule of six’) or two households can take place. This means that organised indoor adult and children football can return.
For organised indoor sport and physical activity, there’s no limit on group numbers so long as people adhere to capacity restrictions on indoor facilities. The maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 100 square ft per person.
This guidance applies to all youth and adult football and futsal, including all formats of the game. If there are any further updates from the Government, we will communicate these in due course and we will continue to update our guidance as we move through the different steps of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from The FA. Any incidents of non-compliance should be reported to the local County Football Association.
We can provide an update on the return of outdoor grassroots football and support available to clubs across the grassroots football community. Wednesday 23rd March
On Monday 29 March, as part of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap out of national lockdown, outdoor sports facilities can open, and organised outdoor football can take place.
We've now published our updated guidance, based on the latest Government advice available, which applies to all outdoor youth and adult football and Futsal, including all formats of the game.
If there are any further updates from the Government, we'll communicate these in due course. We'll also update our guidance as we move through the different steps of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
The Government guidance on travel is that the ‘stay at home’ rule will end on Monday 29 March, but many restrictions will remain in place. As organised sport can resume, all participants may travel to games but should avoid travel at the busiest times and routes, as well as minimising any unnecessary journeys where possible. All participants must follow the Government’s guidance on safer travel.
Changing rooms cannot be used as part of step one in the roadmap out of lockdown and must remain shut. Toilets will be allowed to open, 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after training and/or matches. All government guidance on hygiene and social distancing measures must be followed.
No spectators are allowed at grassroots football as part of step one of the Government’s roadmap. One parent or guardian per child is permitted, where clubs and facilities can safely accommodate this and following all appropriate guidance.
Indoor sport is not currently allowed. This is planned to return no earlier than 17 May, as part of step three of the Government’s roadmap, apart from disability football, which is currently allowed to take place indoors.
It's extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from the FA. Any incidents of non-compliance will be reported to the local County Football Association.
Further FA financial support for the game
With the assistance of Sport England, we're pleased to confirm we will be offering funding to County FAs to provide discounted 2021-22 season affiliation. This will be available across the whole of affiliated football, assisting everyone with getting back to the game they love, and especially those from under-represented areas of the game such as women and girls, lower socio-economic groups, minority groups and those with a disability.
We, alongside Sport England, strongly encourage all of those restarting in the weeks ahead to ensure that everyone is able to benefit, no matter their age or gender, from fair and equal access to playing opportunities.
In addition to this, our ‘Return to Football Fund’, made possible with Sport England funding from the National Lottery, will provide £2.1 million targeted at supporting people in low participation groups to start playing again. It will also fund initiatives aimed at bringing new players into the game and cover the cost of adapting to COVID-19 rules.
Finally, alongside our partners at the Football Foundation, we also recently announced two other new funds to provide further financial support to clubs over the longer term.
The £14 million Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund is providing six-year tapered grants to improve the quality of grass pitches, while the Small Grants fund is available to help clubs pay for essential equipment and machinery they need to start playing again.
Clubs can apply for up to £25k to refurbish their changing rooms, pay for grass pitch drainage, new goalposts, pitch maintenance equipment and portable floodlights.
For more information about the funds and how to apply, visit the Football Foundation website.
Clubs and leagues can access our online support hub and podcasts which includes up to date information, guidance and signposts as well as other useful information relating to funding and support services.
AN UPDATE FOLLOWING THE GOVERNMENT'S ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING TIER SYSTEMS IN ENGLAND
We note the Government’s further update today [Thursday 26 November] on the three tiered system and continue our ongoing dialogue with Government to clarify the details and next steps, including travel between tiers.
We will publish detailed guidance once we’ve clarified these details.
BCP area goes in to Tier 2
Update November 23rd 2020
We welcome the UK Government’s announcement today and we are very pleased that organised sports, which include Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS], Tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP] and competitive grassroots football, can look forward to resuming from 2nd December.
We are also delighted to see the beginning of the safe return of fans in stadiums for elite sports events and confirmation that spectators at non-elite sports will be able to attend events in line with Covid-secure guidance for each tier.
We will continue our ongoing dialogue with Government to clarify the details and next steps, and provide further updates in due course.
We can provide an update for ‘non-elite’ football in England following the UK Government’s announcement on new national COVID-19 restrictions that will be in place from Thursday 5 November 2020 until Wednesday 2 December 2020.
As a result of the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 restrictions, and subject to Members of Parliament voting tomorrow [Wednesday 4 November 2020] and the publication of bespoke guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport [DCMS], the impact on ‘non elite’ football in England will include the suspension of the following during this period:
• All fixtures and training for Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS];
• All fixtures and training for Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP];
• All fixtures and training for the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues;
• All fixtures and training for The Barclays FA WSL Academy League;
• All fixtures and training for FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs;
• All fixtures and training for indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football.
Our aim is to ensure that the 2020-21 season is completed at these levels and will liaise with the relevant leagues in the NLS and WFP and the County Football Associations [CFAs] to provide support and establish appropriate options to do so if required.
The UK Government has confirmed that school sport can continue as an exemption during this period.
In addition, the UK Government has confirmed that all Emirates FA Cup First Round fixtures will go ahead as planned this weekend between Friday 6 and Monday 9 November 2020 and all ten ‘non-elite’ clubs that remain in the competition will be able to train together and play their fixtures under ‘elite’ protocols.
Further updates on fixtures and dates for the 2020-21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase will follow in due course.
Re-starting football at these levels has taken substantial determination and commitment from stakeholders across the game and we would like to thank everyone for their vital contributions. However, health and wellbeing remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 restrictions during this period.
OUTDOOR GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL CAN CONTINUE AS AN EXEMPTION TO THE LATEST PLANNED COVID-19 MEASURES
Updated 1st October 2020
For the latest updated Q&A click on the link below:
Changing rooms are an area of increased risk of transmission. It is important that social distancing is maintained in changing rooms and showers and that they are only use if essential. All venues should encourage attendees to arrive at the facility in sports kit and where possible to travel home to change/shower. Use of changing rooms and showering facilities should in general be avoided where possible, although these must be available for participants with disabilities or special needs and are likely to be needed after swimming. If changing rooms are to be used, users should use the facilities as quickly as possible.
For more information see the Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities guidance.
Updated 17th July 2020
The FA can confirm that the UK Government approved its plan for the return of outdoor grassroots football late last night, Friday 17 July 2020.
As a result, the grassroots football community now has the opportunity to return to football and prepare for the start of the new season.
The FA has been working hard over recent weeks to prepare guidelines for the safe return of grassroots football and, following Government approval, these can now be published.
Football activity can take place with necessary modifications in place to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19.
The FA would strongly recommend a phased return to competitive football activity as follows:
- ·Until 31 July – When ready, you can begin competitive training, with the overall group size (inclusive of coaches) being limited to 30 people;
- ·From August– Competitive matches to begin, for example pre-season fixtures, festivals and small sided football competitions;
- ·From September– Grassroots leagues, men’s National League System, Women’s Football Pyramid tiers 3 to 6, and FA Competitions can commence.
Clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents/carers, spectators and football facility providers should read The FA’s full guidelines, which are accessible below, in addition to the latest Government guidance on COVID-19.
A return to competitive football should only happen once clubs and facility providers have completed the necessary risk assessments and comprehensive plans are in place.
A summary of key points to consider from The FA’s guidelines are listed for ease below:
- ·Everyone should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend;
- ·Clubs and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to COVID-19;
- ·Competitive training is now permitted, with groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches;
- ·Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play
- ·Players and officials should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session;
- ·Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play;
- ·Youth football coaches are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training;
- ·Goal celebrations should be avoided;
- ·Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, coaches should only handle equipment in training;
- ·Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities;
- ·Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle
- ·Clubs should keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace;
- ·Clubs should ensure they are affiliated with their County Football Association.
Separate guidance has been developed for clubs with teams competing in the men’s National League System (NLS) and the Women’s Football Pyramid tiers 3 to 6. This will support these Clubs on the safe return of paying spectators and also the applicability of the guidance to facilities under Ground Grading conditions, to ensure the safe return of competitive matches.
Please note that at this stage, indoor football and futsal is not permitted. The FA will look to work with indoor facility providers to develop appropriate guidance for indoor formats as soon as possible.
The FA have provided FAQ’s and useful resource information, which is downloadable from http://www.thefa.com/news/2020/jul/17/grassroots-guidance-for-competitive-football-restart-in-england-170720
UPDATE as of 4th JULY 2020
People who play team sports can now meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in wholly separate groups of no more than 6 and follow social distancing guidelines. While groups could practice ball skills like passing and kicking, equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. Physical contact with anyone outside of your household is not permitted, therefore playing of any games (small sided or full) is also not permitted at this time. Avoid meeting in groups of 6 in busy or overcrowded areas, if it is so busy that it is not possible to maintain social distancing at all times.
For further information follow this link
UPDATE ON BOURNEMOUTH HAYWARD FOOTBALL LEAGUE 0/06/2020
as of 1st June, the following outdoor football activity is currently permitted:
• playing football individually e.g. practice of individual skills or fitness activities;
• playing football with your family or other people living in your household;
• football training or fitness activities in groups of no more than six, keeping two metres apart at all times.
Sharing of equipment should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. Physical contact with anyone outside of your household is not permitted, therefore, playing of any games (small-sided or full) is also not permitted at this time. Avoid meeting in groups of six in busy or overcrowded areas, if it is so busy that it is not possible to maintain social distancing at all times.
• Football coaches can now undertake small group sessions up to six people (including the coach) but are reminded to follow The FA safeguarding policy when coaching/working with children.
UPDATE ON NON-LEAGUE, WOMEN'S & GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL SEASONS 26/03/2020
National League System
The NLS and the women’s football pyramid were able to build a consensus amongst their leagues and, where possible, aimed to create a consistent approach across all leagues, whilst taking into account the unique characteristics of each individual league.
As a result, The FA and NLS steps three to six have reached a consensus that their 2019-20 season will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between NLS steps three to six, and no promotion to NLS step two.
These decisions will also apply to the leagues and clubs who play at NLS step seven.
We will continue to assist and support the National League (NLS steps one and two) to determine the outcome of its 2019-20 season as quickly as possible. The planned implementation of the restructure of the NLS will also now be deferred until the start of the 2021-22 season.
Furthermore, we can now confirm that we have decided that all grassroots football is concluded for the 2019-20 season. This will allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season. Our County Football Associations (CFAs) will be supporting grassroots leagues over the coming days to determine how they should close out their current competitions.
Following on from The FA's announcement today, Hampshire FA are fully supporting the FA’s announcement that ALL grassroots football should be postponed for the foreseeable future. Please note that this includes ALL training and playing friendly matches. This includes the Bournemouth Hayward Football League games and the M. A. Hart Cup Finals.
Having consulted with the County FA it is the decision of the Bournemouth Hayward Football League that it is Football as usual for the time being. If any Club has any concerns over playing their fixtures, will the Club Secretary please phone the office immediatley. 01202 490000. Please do take all precautions suggested below: 13/03/2020
As you are aware, the situation with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19) is being constantly reviewed and all grassroots clubs are advised to refer to updated information provided by the UK government via https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
Hampshire FA are closely monitoring the current situation and will continue to follow the advice and guidance from The FA, Public Health England and the World Health Organisation. We suggest that clubs share the following information with members.
At the current time grassroots football matches, like other forms of public gatherings, have not been banned. However, all clubs are advised to take basic precautions to protect players, officials and spectators and to delay the development of the disease. These general precautions include:
- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough and sneeze. Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands.
- If any players, officials or spectators show any symptoms (however mild) of COVID-19 – these include a high temperature or a new, continuous cough – they should self-isolate by staying at home for 7 days. No adult or child should be attending football matches or training sessions if they suspect that they have relevant symptoms. If a child is not attending school due to symptoms, they should not be attending football sessions.
- Avoid shaking hands – discuss and agree alternatives with opposition coaches, match and league officials.
High Risk Groups – In older adults, those with weakened immune systems and those with cancer, diabetes and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the risk of having severe symptoms is much higher. It would, therefore, be sensible for anyone in an at-risk group to avoid crowds.
All clubs are advised to liaise with their league/competition as a first point of contact with regards to fixtures. Any decision to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions is a matter for each league at the present time.